COBRA Insurance

Up to 18 months


COBRA Insurance Image

Keeping Your Current Coverage for up to 18 Months

COBRA coverage is the same group health coverage you had through your last employer. COBRA coverage usually lasts 18 months. But in some cases, it can be extended to 36 months.

How much does it cost?

Though your coverage stays the same, you usually have to pay the entire monthly premium yourself, plus a small administrative fee. Your former employer no longer pays any of your insurance costs.  COBRA rules are strict. You’ll need to follow all deadlines to keep your COBRA eligibility.

Can I Replace COBRA with Short-term or Individual Health Insurance?

If your COBRA coverage is ending, you may qualify for special enrollment. This means you can buy a short-term or individual health insurance plan.

If you choose to buy COBRA, you will not be able to buy a new plan until the Open Enrollment period.

If you have questions about COBRA or how to apply, call your last employer’s benefits manager or COBRA administrator. Your COBRA administrator may not be the same person as your benefits manager.

Choose COBRA coverage if you:

  • Want to stay with your current doctors or specialist
  • Are pregnant or may become pregnant in the next 18 months
  • Have a chronic health issue
  • Have surgery scheduled
  • Regularly fill prescriptions
  • Received a denial after applying for private insurance

In the past, if you had a pre-existing condition, you may have had trouble getting insurance other than COBRA. With the Affordable Care Act, you can buy individual health insurance with a pre-existing condition.

To learn about your options, call our Licensed Blue Cross and Blue Shield Agents at 1-888-909-9987.

Compare Your Options

Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Major Medical Insurance Plans COBRA
ACA Compliant* No3 Yes See your COBRA notice2
Financial help available No3 Yes No
Coverage length 1-11 months 12+ months Up to 18 months (or 36 months in rare cases)
Coverage level Basic Major See your COBRA notice2
Option to buy dental coverage No Yes See your COBRA notice2
Preventive care No Yes See your COBRA notice2
Prescription drug program Yes (limited)1 Yes See your COBRA notice2

1See short-term insurance plan details for prescription drug program limits.

2The COBRA plan column shows information that’s typical of COBRA plans. Your COBRA notice will list the benefits you had with that coverage.

3 Short-term plans give you basic health care coverage, but they don't meet the minimum essential coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, you may have to pay a tax penalty and you can’t receive federal financial assistance with these plans.

COBRA Contacts

In addition to contacting your COBRA administrator and benefits manager, you can also contact these resources:

If you worked for:

State or Local Government

Department of Labor
1-877-267-2323, ext. 61565

Federal Government

Office of Personnel Management

Private company (non-government)

Department of Labor
or 1-866-444-3272

Smart Tip

If you're planning to replace your COBRA coverage, it’s important not to let your COBRA coverage end before your new plan starts. Otherwise there will be a gap in your coverage.

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